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U.S. returns stolen antique books to Sweden


The United States has returned two antique books to Sweden that were stolen from the National Library of Sweden in the 1990s, the Justice Department said.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and George Venizelos, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI New York field office of the FBI said Tuesday the books — "Description de la Louisiane, nouvellement decouverte au sud-ouest de la Nouvelle-France, par ordre du roi; avec la carte du pays, les moeurs et la maniere de vivre des sauvages," by Louis Hennepin, and "Das illustrirte Mississippithal, dargestellt in 80 nach der Natur aufgenommenen Ansichten vom Wasserfalle zu S:t Anthony an bis zum Golf von Mexico…," by Henry Lewis — had been returned to Sweden.

Hennepin’s book was printed in Paris in 1683 and Lewis’ was published between 1854 and 1858 in Dusseldorf, Germany, the Justice Department said in a news release.

The books were stolen from the National Library of Sweden by Anders Burius, a former employee of the Library, in the 1990s. Burius confessed in 2004 and said he sold the books to the Ketterer Kunst auction house in Germany under the alias "Carl/Karl Fields," the release said.

The auction house, unaware that the books were stolen property, sold them to Stephan Loewentheil, the owner of 19th Century Shop Rare Books in Baltimore, 1998.

Burius committed suicide after confessing to the theft, the release said.

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